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  1. National

Government reaches deal on meningitis B vaccine

All babies in the UK will soon have a potentially life-saving vaccine against meningitis B. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

The government has reached a deal with drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to provide all babies in the UK with a potentially life-saving vaccine against meningitis B, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced.

Mr Hunt said Britain would now become the first country in the world with a nationwide meningitis B vaccination programme.

The deal follows recent controversy over the Bexsero MenB vaccine after it emerged it was still not available to children despite being recommended by health advisers a year ago.

The drug will now be added to the national childhood immunisation scheme, meaning babies will receive the first vaccine at two months old, followed by two further doses.

Mr Hunt said: "I am very proud that we will be the first country in the world to have a nationwide MenB vaccination programme, helping to protect our children from a devastating disease.

"MenB can be severely disabling or fatal, especially in babies and young children. Losing a child is every parent's worst nightmare so I am delighted that we have reached an agreement with GSK to supply the vaccine."


  1. National

Ashya King's parents 'afraid' to return to Britain

The parents of five-year-old brain cancer survivor Ashya King have said they want to return to the UK, but are afraid their son will be taken from them if they do.

Ashya after being reunited with his parents Brett and Naghmeh in September 2014 Credit: Family handout

Brett and Naghmeh King, who sparked an international manhunt after taking their son out of hospital without doctors' consent, told The Sun that they have tried - and failed - to get official assurances that UK authorities will not take action against them.

The family are in their holiday home in Spain with Ashya, who has been given the all-clear after receiving proton beam therapy in Prague which was initially not available to him on the NHS.

We feel exiled. We want to return to the UK but as things stand we are here for the long term.

We want someone to tell us nothing will be held against us. But they won't.

So why would we move back thinking that at any moment someone could knock on our door with the police and take our children? The thought of them taking Ashya away from us rips our hearts in two.

– Brett King

Mr King, 51, also told the paper he had been questioned by police when he had returned to England in November, while the paper reported Portsmouth City Council's head of children and social care Stephen Kitchman had emailed the family to say he could not give a "definitive answer" on what would happen should they return.

But according to the paper, Michael Lawther, the council's solicitor, said no legal action was in progress and "therefore it is not a council matter whether the King family returns".

  1. National

Ashya King's treatment centre 'thrilled' at his recovery

The little boy's medical centre is thrilled he is now cancer free, they said Credit: Reuters

Ashya King's treatment centre has expressed its delight that the five-year-old is now cancer-free.

Jana Kulhankova, marketing director at the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, said she had not seen the latest scan but has been in regular contract with Ashya's doctor, Hernan Cortes-Funes, since his treatment ended.

She said: "Ashya's doctor told me last week that Ashya is doing so well that he is able to release him for rehabilitation.

"If the scans are showing that Ashya is cancer-free, as Mr King says, than we are thrilled, that is what we have worked for.

The centre's strategy director also voiced how pleased the centre is but added that she did not know why his British doctors had denied him proton therapy to start with.

Iva Tatounova said: I don't know why he was turned down in the first place as proton therapy should be the first choice of treatment for children with medulloblastoma.

Iva Tatounova, strategy director, said she was also thrilled Ashya is recovering Credit: ITV News

"I don't know of its politics or simply not knowing about proton therapy."

However she also said she was "glad" the NHS had realised that proton therapy was a gentler and less aggressive form of treatment and that they paid Ashya's medical costs.

Hospital still sees 'no benefit' to overseas treatment for Ashya King

The Southampton hospital at which Ashya King was diagnosed with cancer has disputed claims that alternative treatment improved Ashya King's chances of survival.

It said it still believes there would be 'no benefit' to his parents taking the five-year-old abroad for proton therapy.

Ashya's parents have today said he is clear of cancer and that the treatment has saved his life.

Ashya King's parents say he is now cancer free.

However, a spokesperson for the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said the treatment would not have improved his chances of survival.

"The Trust considered there would be no benefit to Ashya of proton radiotherapy over standard radiotherapy and that view was supported by a national independent expert body."

– University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

They say that with the recommended treatment - a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy - his survival chances would have been between 70-80%. They describe this as 'very good'.

  1. National

King family: We have saved Ashya's life

Ashya King's father said his son's recovery from brain cancer justifies the family's actions in taking him from Southampton General Hospital without medical consent last August.

Ashya with his mother Naghmeh King in October after undergoing proton therapy. Credit: Family handout

He told The Sun: "We have saved his life", adding that they would do the same thing again if they felt they had to.

Ashya King's mother Naghmeh has described news of the boy's condition as incredible.

"If we had left Ashya with the NHS in Britain, he would not be with us today. He was too weak and would not have survived," she told the paper.

Ashya was finally allowed to undergo treatment at the Proton Therapy Centre (PTC) in Prague for brain cancer after a long legal battle fought by his parents.


  1. National

Five year-old Ashya King 'declared cancer free'

Ashya King, the five-year-old boy who was the subject of an international manhunt when his parents took him out of the UK for cancer treatment, has been declared free of the disease, according to reports.

The five-year-old has completed proton therapy treatment in Prague. Credit: PA Wire

Brett and Naghmeh King told The Sun newspaper that their son's life was saved because he was given treatment not available for him on the NHS.

The Kings were arrested in Spain last year and held in prison after taking Ashya out of a hospital in Southampton against medical advice.

The five-year-old was eventually taken to Prague where he received treatment at the Proton Therapy Centre (PTC).

Finger food to improve dementia patients' independence

Progressive under-nutrition is particularly common among people with dementia Credit: PA

A new finger food menu for patients living with dementia is being piloted at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in an attempt to encourage greater independence.

Nutrition, catering and nursing staff worked together to create a finger food menu which is being piloted on an elderly care ward.

Finger foods have become very helpful in encouraging people with dementia to enjoy food and drink again. As dementia progresses people often find cutlery difficult to manage, they also can find it difficult to manage a full meal.

– Nutrition Specialist Nurse Liz Evan

The menu features foods that will hold their shape when picked up, require limited chewing and are served at room temperature - such as mini quiches, cocktail sausages, small slices of cake and fruit.

Progressive under-nutrition is particularly common among people with dementia. Studies indicate that 20-45% of those with dementia in the community experience clinically significant weight loss over one year.

Both highly visible tableware and finger food has been shown to lead to an increase in food and drink consumption. Over the next few weeks hospital dietitians will be assessing any changes in patients' nutritional intake.

Blood bikers move into new home : Watch our report

The volunteers provide a vital service across Kent Credit: ITV Meridian

A group of one hundred bikers who volunteer to deliver vital blood supplies for seriously ill patients in hospital has moved into a new home.

The Blood Bikers now have a base right in the heart of Kent.

And they've had a very special visitor to open their new headquarters, as Abigail Bracken reports

  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Dead Man Talking

A man from Gravesend is trying to recover from the shock of being told he's dead by the local council.

Andrew Kirchin had been on holiday when his daughter received a letter from the authorities saying they were "adjusting" his council tax accordingly. He then got a note from the Inland Revenue as well.

David Johns reports, speaking to Andrew and his daughter Susan.

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